The greenhouse, completed in early May 2021, has been equipped with state-of-the-art technology and allows for 4 crop cycles per year.
Click here to view an interview with Symtomax’s Facilities Manager, Matthew Butters from March 2021, discussing the in depth technical knowledge of the greenhouse and the thought process behind the designs and processes which will enable Symtomax to become the largest supplier of medical grade cannabis in Europe.
Innovative Greenhouse Technology:
Supplemental Lighting: We have various sensors which monitor the available sunlight within the spectrum for plant photosynthesis. When the natural levels provided by the sun are inadequate, the supplemental light activates to the appropriate level of intensity to achieve the optimal levels for the plants.
Airflow: We have extensive air handling systems which allow us to provide the optimal temperature, humidity, and CO2 regulation.
Germination: The germination room is completely climatically controlled and has the ability of producing over 30,000 young plants every 10-14 days.
Union Space: Our working area (union area) is connected to the production bays. This reduces trip index of personnel increasing productivity, efficiency, and reducing the potential for contamination.
Automation: To reduce labour expenses, and increase accuracy in our various systems, the most laborious activities and critical monitoring equipment is all automated, such as the fertigation and irrigation systems, potting and seeding machine, climate control etc.
GREEN HOUSE GROW CYCLE
Week 1: 1st batch of seeds planted. 10,000 seeds planted in germination room into 72 unit trays.
Week 2: 2nd batch of 10,000 seeds are planted within germination room.
Week 3: Transplant the 1st batch of seeds into 1.4L pots and move into Bay 1 for 2 weeks.
Week 3: Another 10,000 seeds planted.
Week 4: 2nd batch is transferred into Bay 1 and germination increases.
Week 5: Weekly cycle of moving each batch from 1.4L to 6L pots prior to outdoor plantation.
Shadow Screens and Blackout Blinds
Potting Machine: 7000 plants per hour, which would take roughly 3/4 days to complete manually.
Seeder: 10,000 seeds per hour, which is 7/10 x faster than if done manually.
Pots with Irrigation System Installed
Reservoir: It has enough capacity/storage for 3 days of greenhouse irrigation, which will allow enough time to fix any potential problems encountered.
SYMTOMAX OUTDOOR CULTIVATION SITE
Land Preparation and Cultivation
The outdoor production season will follow when the field preparations and nursery vegetation of the Cannabis sativa takes place. To prepare the field, we amend with organic inputs to increase organic material and compensate for the analysed nutrient deficiencies. Sulphur is added to adjust the pH to the optimal level. The irrigation network is completed and raised beds created. Then a cover crop mixture of Alyssum and Trifolium is planted to fix nitrogen into the soil, provide habitat for beneficial insects, retain water within the soil, and suppress dust. The irrigation drip tape is then installed within the production rows.
During this time, seeds are sprouted inside of the germination area of the greenhouse. They are then transplanted into a larger container and moved into the nursery area of the greenhouse.This enables them to develop a dense rhizosphere and mature before being subjected to the harsh climate outdoors. They are precisely fed a completely organic high nitrogen diet during this time via fertigation. When the plants are developed enough for transplanting, they are moved out of the greenhouse. Holes are drilled within the production rows for planting. A mycorrhizal inoculant is inserted into the holes and the plants are also planted within.
From this stage, we try to accomplish as much vegetative growth with the plants as possible. The flowering stage is initiated naturally by the reduction of the photoperiod as the season progresses. The plants are trellised and pruned for support and to focus energy into their flower production. The fertilization regime is altered into a high phosphorus and potassium diet to help enable the flower growth and assist the production of secondary metabolites such as terpenes and cannabinoids.
Rigorous Integrated Pest Management takes place during the entire duration of the plants’ lifecycle to reduce the risk of crop loss or quality detriment due to insect and other pests. These schedules are tailored to the growth phase of the plant, climatic fluctuations, and observed pest emergence. Harvest commences at ripening and the peak of cannabinoid production, indicated by observation of the external trichomes of the inflorescence.
We plan on cultivating a total of about 15 hectares of outdoor cultivation, during our first cultivation phase In 2021.
The Post-Harvest Production Facility is intended to be certified EU-GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices). These are the standards required to produce pharmaceutical products and have quality as the first and foremost priority within its scope. The building itself is finished with the appropriate sanitary materials which ensure the ability to maintain cleanliness. There are different levels of isolation, maintained by airlocks/passthrough doors, air pressure differentials, uniforms/ PPE (Personal Protection Equipment), and SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures), within the manufacturing areas which prevent cross contamination between the different zones. There are 14 state-of-the-art drying rooms, which not only have the ability of sustaining the ideal drying conditions, but also sterilizing the recirculation air to reduce microbial contamination, drying at low temperatures to preserve secondary metabolites such as cannabinoids and terpenes, and maintain pressure differentials and laminar airflow patterns to encourage consistent moisture extraction and reduce contamination, for finishing the raw cannabis material into premium final products.
From this stage, the product is taken to the processing areas of the facility. Here, the dried cannabis inflorescences are removed from the stems. If the product is going to be sold as cannabis flower, the inflorescences are trimmed, packaged, and stored in a curing state until they reach the desired parameters, upon which time they are ready for sale. If the product is intended for further processing via state-of-the-art extraction systems, the inflorescences are first milled.
The milled product is initially extracted via CO2. This will create a crude oil of total cannabinoids. From here, the terpenes can be separated and sold independently or reformulated into the final products. The crude oil is then winterized in ethanol and distilled to create a refined high-quality oil with about 90% total cannabinoids. If the product is intended for an API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) it will undergo a multistage process of fractional crystallization and gas chromatography to achieve a final API product of 99%+ purity. Any of these products can either be sold wholesale at any stage to other pharmaceutical manufacturers depending on the requirements of the client. We can also create proprietary formulations in house for pharmaceutical use, for example via incorporation into Symtomax OralTabs which will also take place within the facility.
POST-HARVEST EU-GMP PRODUCTION FACILITY